(By Scarlett Cole): The government of St. Lucia recently revealed that they will begin construction on the Pearl of the Caribbean. Reports suggest that the racetrack will be part of the first stage of construction in Beausejour.
The government is currently finalizing the development of the entertainment complex, and is relying on the country’s Citizenship by Investment Program for funding.
The proposed deal will see land sold to Desert Star Holdings (DSH) at approximately $90,000 per acre.
Apart from building an entertainment complex, the government also announced its plans to launch an Education Training Fund in partnership with DSH, which aims to train locals in the horse racing industry.
In January, the government released a simplified fact sheet designed to help locals understand what the Pearl of the Caribbean project entails. The fact sheet was issued so that it would eradicate any negative rumors that were being circulated in the media. It touched on issues such as whether or not 840 acres of land would be awarded to a single developer, and if the George Odlum Stadium would be completely demolished as part of the DSH agreement.
Last year, the government of St. Lucia inked an agreement to construct the first ever integrated entertainment complex in the country. The Pearl of the Caribbean is a $2.6 billion project that has been designed to attract investment and tourism from China among other leading first world countries.
According to The Times of India, the Chinese are among the biggest gamblers in the world. Figures released by Macau’s gambling inspector in 2006 showed that the former Portuguese colony posted approximately $6.87 billion in revenues, toppling Las Vegas’ gaming establishments, which only reported a combined total of $6.69 billion in the same year.
In addition to casinos, the horse racing industry is also thriving in China with The Telegraph reporting that races now attract about 1.4 million race goers each year in the region. Thus, horse racing is going from strength-to-strength in China and this is another area that the St. Lucia government is looking to capitalize on with the Pearl of the Caribbean’s proposed racetrack.
The global interest in horse racing is why you often see the influence of equine sports in land-based casinos as well as featured online too. Horse racing simulators frequent many large casinos, while games such as Fire Horse can be seen on the popular slots platform Slingo as proof that equine sports appeal goes far beyond the racetrack.
Aside from the many games created to appeal to rich gambling communities like the Chinese, casino operators all over the world are also constructing establishments that honor the Chinese culture. In December 2016, Las Vegas opened the Lucky Dragon Casino and Hotel, which is a boutique-style casino and resort designed to mimic an authentic Asian gaming and cultural experience.
On top of the aforementioned plans, DSH plans to build leisure venues, a shopping mall, and a free-trade zone on the site of the Pearl of the Caribbean. Although no actual dates have been revealed as to when the construction will commence.